The IOF Council has outlined criteria for major events in 2021 ©IOF

International Orienteering Federation (IOF) has suggested criteria for holding major events during the coronavirus pandemic.

The topic was a key part of discussions at the IOF’s latest Council meeting, which stressed that a return to sporting activities was of the utmost importance for athletes, organisers and member federations.

This is provided that competitions can be held in fair circumstances and with appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

With travel restrictions considered likely to be in place at the time of major IOF events next year, the governing body has recommended lessening participation requirements.

The IOF Council has suggested four of the top six or six of the top 10 national teams must be present for a World Championships to maintain its status.

Final decisions on holding World Championship events will be made six weeks prior to competition, with COVID-19 safety protocols a requirement.

The IOF Council proposed that for World Cup, Junior World Championships, regional championships with a team entry and the Master World Championships there will be no requirement for a minimum number of national teams being able to participate to maintain the major event status.

A final decision by the IOF will be made at the latest six weeks prior to World Cup, Junior World Championships and regional championships.

A decision will be expected at least three months prior to the Masters World Championships.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be required at each event.

The IOF has invited member federations and the Athletes’ Commission to comment on the proposals.

A minimum number of countries may be required to host the World Championships ©IOF
A minimum number of countries may be required to host the World Championships ©IOF

Final criteria is expected before the end of 2020, while each major event organiser will also be contacted by the IOF Office to understand their own challenges and criteria for being able to hold their event in 2021.

The IOF said it aims to offer assistance if required, with the governing body’s priority to make sure that World Championships may be held for the respective target groups of elite athletes.

A series of IOF events were either cancelled or postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponement of the next year’s World Masters Games in Japan has also prompted the IOF Council to seek a host for a Masters World Championships in 2021.

The IOF Council said it also considered a suggestion from the organisers in Japan to organise a Master World Championships as a part of the World Masters Games in May 2022.

The governing body said this was considered not to be an optimal solution as there would only be a short period of time between two Masters World Championships.

Two bids were received to host the event next year, with Hungary awarded the competition.

Competition is expected to take place from August 7 to 13 in the town of Velence.

Should the event not be held, amid COVID-19 restrictions, it may be added again to the 2022 World Masters Games programme in Japan.